I’m not sure what exactly I expected from Kaitlyn Sage Patterson’s debut YA novel The Diminished, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
In the Alskad Empire, nearly all are born with a twin, two halves to form one whole…yet some face the world alone.
A rare few are singleborn in each generation, and therefore given the right to rule by the gods and goddesses. Bo Trousillion is one of these few, born into the royal line and destined to rule. Though he has been chosen to succeed his great-aunt, Queen Runa, as the leader of the Alskad Empire, Bo has never felt equal to the grand future before him.
When one twin dies, the other usually follows, unable to face the world without their other half. Those who survive are considered diminished, doomed to succumb to the violent grief that inevitably destroys everyone whose twin has died. Such is the fate of Vi Abernathy, whose twin sister died in infancy. Raised by the anchorites of the temple after her family cast her off, Vi has spent her whole life scheming for a way to escape and live out what’s left of her life in peace.
As their sixteenth birthdays approach, Bo and Vi face very different futures—one a life of luxury as the heir to the throne, the other years of backbreaking work as a temple servant. But a long-held secret and the fate of the empire are destined to bring them together in a way they never could have imagined.
Between when I first heard about The Diminished and the time I actually sat down to read it, I had completely forgotten the synopsis. The only thing I could remember was that it had something to do with twins.
I found a delightful book with heart. Both Bo and Vi are complex characters. Bo is in line for the throne and takes his job seriously. He believes himself to be a servant of the people. He is motivated by what he thinks will best serve his country. Vi has lived in the Anchorite temple her whole life leading a very different life. She is motivated by a desire to have some kind of say in her own future, even if it means changing one pair of confines for another.
Full of rebellion, conspiracies, and power plays, The Diminished is a fantastic read. Patterson’s accessible writing style flows beautifully across the page and I found that I didn’t want to put the book down. I did knock off half a star because there were some predictable tropes at play, but they didn’t take much away from the book.
The Diminished is also full of casual representation. There are characters of color and more than one queer relationship fully confirmed, not just alluded to, on the page.
The Diminished hit shelves earlier this month on April 10, 2018 and I can’t waiiiiiiiit for the sequel to come out next year.
I received an eARC from NetGalley and HarlequinTEEN in exchange for my honest review.